Friday, December 16, 2011

AGU days 4 and 5

Better late than never, eh?

After being completely overwhelmed the first 3 days of AGU, I finally got into the convention groove my last two days. I spent a lot of time in the poster halls pouring over research friends, potential colleagues and new acquaintances have done. I spent most of my time wandering between the earth processes and tectonophysics posters.

Sure, I saw some great science at AGU but the most interesting thing about the meeting was overhearing conversations about the process of research. For example, I was looking at a poster of a potential adviser for graduate school, discussing the program at his institution. Out of the blue came 'big name scientist' and began to chat with my potential adviser about his research and, more importantly, how they had new questions to answer. New questions require more money. How were they going to go back to Venezuela? How many grants/proposals, ect did he put in? What could he be competing with? It was interesting overhearing this because I have a very vague sense of the process to get research funded and the more confounding processes inside funding organizations. These are things I imagine I will be part of for years to come with grad school *hopefully* on the horizon.

And now, back to graduate school applications!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

AGU Days 2 and 3

Whew! What a week it's been.

On Tuesday morning I happened to walk into Moscone West when the exhibit hall had been open for about 10 minutes. I followed the flow of people to the NASA booth and experienced a frenzy. Hands everywhere grabbing posters, post cards, comic books, calendars, and bags. This is what I imagined black Friday looking like a few weeks ago. I decided I didn't want to carry around a bunch of swag all day, so I limited my plunder to what fit in my messenger bag and folded posters. This worked out nicely. The exhibit hall has a lot of interesting products, services, organizations and plenty of people to talk to.

I stopped by Little River Research and Design when they were first setting up the Em3 table. I have been really excited to see this product in action and it certainly delivered. The colored grains are actually pieces of plastic that are a specific size by color. They've been blogging too about AGU and it's been an adventurous one for them.
Fun for all!

I also stopped by the OpenTopography booth, shared with NCALM (National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping) on NSF street, #1123. OpenTopography is a great resource for anyone looking for LiDAR or just play around with it in Google Earth, which is what I do. They are consistently updating their available data, with recent additions of the Lake Tahoe Basin, the Tetons in WY and the John Day watershed in OR. While wandering the posters Wednesday morning, I noticed many have used OT data in their research, especially of geomorphological markers of fault motion. 

I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday talking to people in the poster hall, going to interesting presentations, visiting the exhibit hall. Everything is a bit overwhelming, especially since I have a few looming graduate school application dates this week, but I am having a blast.

It's great that you spend all morning being totally immersed in the geo-world and when lunch rolls around, you walk outside and you're in San Francisco! I've spent quite a bit of time in the City and it's always such a treat to walk up to Union Square for lunch, wander into Soma for a beer and take the bus back to the Mission district where I'm staying with a friend. Believe me, Mission style burrito have been a staple of my diet this week.

Time to head off to the meeting! Hopefully I don't look as lost as this little guy while I'm wandering around.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

AGU day 1

Agu, or American Geophysical Union, is an annual meeting of national and international geoscientists for scientific discourse and geeking out about earth science. I arrived in San Francisco Sunday night and prepared for this meeting with a little bit of sleep. This is my first time at AGU and I can safely say that this meeting is overwhelming. I'm not a complete conference rookie as I attended the 2009 GSA meeting in Portland, OR. I know that there's lots going on and I will not see everything I want to see. I started the morning by attending S11C Active Fault Data as Input for Seismic Hazard Analysis. As I am relatively new to this specific field, I enjoyed hearing about the considerations needed for completing an accurate seismic analysis. Things like how do you incorporate new analyses into existing policy and regulations? How can blind faults be included in SHA? Fun stuff. I also spent some time hunting down potential advisors for graduate school, catching up with old friends and just soaking it all in. I attended the social media soiree where i met new people and talked about science blogging. I was especially interested to meet a gentleman who worked for AGU in Washington DC. He told me about the overlying mission of AGU as an organization, which is focused around the support of science research for the benefit of our cultures. So far so good. I am looking forward to exploring the exhibit hall tomorrow. Also, I am currently have 71 followers on twitter and my goal before the end of the meeting is to get over 100. If you aren't following yet, I am @Emily_erratic_